BPI board wants to be done for drugs?


The head of Britain’s music trade body, the BPI, has called for his own prosecution for creating a massive market for drugs and not doing anything about it.

Actually, Geoff Taylor didn’t say this, but by extrapolating from his poorly written essay defending SOPA for the BBC, he appears to do so.

His bitter tract – which starts and sets the tone with the negative emotional word “attacks” and ends with a snide “how that they value other people’s creativity as well as their own” – is against those who took part in the protests against a US anti-piracy bill known as SOPA.


Society of the future

The future, the entire future – it’s pale, stale and male.

Euro-American culture is all that exists, its engineers, nuclear families and universal values are throughout the galaxy.

That is the future we have if you believe a large section of science-fiction.

Today’s life, tomorrow

I want to know why I lost interest in sci-fi.

Good sci-fi has a wealth of ideas and the potential that we love. A Victorian child who read the then-fantastical Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1870 could well have grown to become a pioneer submariner.

Professional Writing

Netflix, apologies and why blogs are for anyone but you

Words have power all right and there’s no better way to see this than when things go wrong.

Netflix is a US DVD and online video rental service. Or rather it was until a September 1st when it split itself into two sites, one for DVDs and one for video streaming.

There was uproar, not least because users were told to pay separately for each site whereas before they got both services for one price.

Professional Writing

Writing as a profession

Data analysis and psychological studies show that treating writing as a profession is the most important way of achieving success, whether it is dreams of being a writer, blogger, selling online, or any one of the myriad ways we present ourselves through writing.

It’s important then that we act now. Statistics show that in 2010 we presented ourselves and our ideas through writing and other creative means more so than at any point in human history.

Yet while the technology has allowed us to change how we write and produce more, our attitude towards writing has not altered.

Writing on the mind
Writing on the mind

Profession and writing

The reason that we don’t think of writing as a profession is because most of us think we don’t need to, our attitudes are still stuck in the 20th century, whereas the range and scope of our writing is firmly in the 21st.

Gone are the days of personal writing, instead we have the age of everyone treating writing as a profession, and to me writing as a profession means:

  • Knowing the rules of spelling and grammar (although not necessarily following them).
  • Reading and studying the art as you would for anything you want to be good at.
  • Thinking and planning what both you and your audience will get out of your work.
  • Being able to sell the point of what you’re writing about.

We’re all authors with a large (enough) audience

Writing as a profession is not new, but its universal application is more relevant than ever as more people become writers with an audience.

As recently as 20 years ago a single letter was unlikely to have found a wide audience, and our essays and thoughts would only have reached the teacher or lecturer marking it. In 2011 thoughts and opinions are spread rapidly and easily to our friends, acquaintances and beyond. And they’re judged, from spelling and grammar to content.

The modern person sends 1.7 emails per day and there are 25 billion Tweets sent on Twitter and 30 billion bits of content shared on Facebook, with 6.1 trillion text messages sent. This is just personal writing we can measure and doesn’t account for blogs, work reports and other methods of writing.

What this means is that the average person thinks they know how to write. But the average person is wrong.

Unskilled and unaware

This isn’t me saying this, it’s science.

According to the Dunning–Kruger effect  a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Their main premise is that once we acquire the minimum amount of knowledge to perform a task to its minimum level, we believe that we have mastered it. And as the skill, knowledge, time and effort taken to master the basics is usually much less than that of advanced levels, we tend not to progress further and believe we know all there is to know.

As such, the basics of writing and composing an email, text and Tweet as simple and the entry level is low, lower than it’s ever been. According to the theory, we are unlikely to progress much beyond the basic writing skills required to draft these messages. This is fine if we are simply messaging a friend, not if we are expecting to have an audience.

All affected

The Dunning-Kruger affects everyone, of all ages, educational and social level.

One of the aims of Considered Words is to help break through writing’s Dunning-Kruger barrier and there will be a regular essay on treating writing as a profession and what we hope to learn about it.

Let us depart on that promise and one thought. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – if we realise we’re unskilled in writing and unaware of this, what else are we dangerously unskilled at and in complete ignorant about?

Site Crash

What is Site Crash?

Do you want more people coming to your website ? And do you want them staying for longer and recommending you to others? Then let me introduce Site Crash.

I’ve improved websites for several years, tightening up the content and vastly increasing traffic, and while it’s great getting paid to do this, it’s time to give something back to charities, voluntary sites and other places that deserve more traffic but may not have the time or resources to do the work needed to improve them.

I’m an editorial expert – I look at not just spelling and grammar, but whether a site is confusingly over-written. You know what I mean, those bitter flavours on the English tongue – meaningless jargon, buzzwords, business-speke. More importantly, I’ll look at how you’re selling your site.

Site Crash logo
Site Crash

Selling a site

Everything is sold.

Think of the last film you saw, you can probably sum up in a few words why you chose it and what you were expecting (although whether it lived up to expectations is another matter, but at least the selling worked). Think too of the last luxury you bought, it met some perceived need. Think also of the last… well, you get the picture.

Everybody sells.
Whether it’s themselves, products or services, your website is your pitch to the world at large. However, we don’t always do it well – key information is missing or confusing, the unique selling point – why people should use you and your site rather than the hundreds of millions of other sites out there – is not obvious.

Key content

When people visit our site, we sell ourselves through our content – mainly writing, but also images, audio and video. This may sound distasteful to some, but we when there are only a few words, a few seconds to sell, you need to do it well.

In addition, your audience (and that’s assuming you even know who your audience is) needs to find you. Good content, the right content that makes use of the different tools of the web can help do this.

This is where Site Crash comes in.

Site Crash

Site Crash is purely voluntary, only the sites where you the owner has invited me will be critiqued here. I’ve based it on similar expert-advice sites such as Janet Reid’s Query Shark and Nathan Bransford’s Page Critiques.

Like them, any criticism will be constructive, and the comments on each post are also encouraged to be constructive. Those that are clearly not will be removed.

The focus will be on how you use your content and the things you could do or add to improve the site, and ways to think about your content.

You will be given key points to digest, and a suggested timeline and priorities and I would like to follow up a few months down the line.

By the end of the Site Crash you will have some key points and, ideally, simple things you can do to make your site better and increase traffic. And who doesn’t want that?

What’s needed

If you’re interested I’ll need a few things from you.

First I’ll need your website’s URL, obviously. Then I need to know the aim or point of your site, as well as your resources. Don’t worry, I won’t publish your resources or any other confidential information, but I do need to know what you’ve got to work with, including how the web is hosted (is it you, an independent company, a friend…)

Once you’ve done that, I’ll get back to you to let you know if I’m having a look and will do my best to post something constructive as soon as I can, although please be aware that this will all be done in my own free time.

So if you’re interested, drop me an email at editor AT ConsideredWords DOT com.

If you could send from an email account that’s part of your site rather than Gmail etc this will enable me to ensure that you are the site owner. Otherwise I’ll have to ask for some other proof of ownership.